It’s no secret that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is a shoo-in for the Premier League’s Player of the Year award. Rightly so; the Uruguayan is topping the Premier League’s goals and assists charts, with 30 strikes and 12 set-ups in 31 outings.
But Manchester City’s Yaya Toure has enjoyed an equally as mesmerising campaign, so in homage to his Man of the Match display against Crystal Palace this afternoon, a Selhurst Park fixture which eventually finished 2-0 to the visitors, here’s three reasons the Cote D’Ivoire star is worthy of the Premier League’s greatest individual accolade.
Perhaps in a bid to make up for lost time, having missed City’s last two Premier League fixtures through injury, the 30 year-old made his presence felt early on with this sublime cross to Edin Dzeko, which the Bosnian target man nodded into the back of Julian Speroni’s net:
Yaya Toure should win the CAF Player of the Year till he loses all of his teeth. Fantastic cross for Dzeko’s goal, fantastic goal too…
— Temisan Okomi (@temiokomi) April 27, 2014
What a cross from the best CM in the world (IMO) Yaya Toure for City’s first goal! Wow.. And his goal isn’t bad either. Top footballer !
— T M Borisade (@Borax7) April 27, 2014
Toure’s assist for Dzeko was the midfielder’s fifth of the season.
As if Toure hadn’t shown enough of his world-class quality with his beautiful ball to set-up Edin Dzeko, he produced another moment of brilliance just before half-time. Picking the ball up near the half-way line, the Etihad star drove at the Palace defence, before conjuring up this curling effort just inside the box:
Joleon Lescott was particularly impressed:
That goal was Toure’s 19th in the Premier League, making him third in the division’s scoring charts and just one goal behind second-place Daniel Sturridge.
Arguably more important than Toure’s impressive output is the manner in which he’s begun to control games under Manuel Pellegrini. The former Barcelona midfielder’s strength, power and attacking threat has always been well documented, but the Chilean’s Etihad arrival has brought out a more technically-demanding side to Toure’s game, by conducting, controlling and dictating the tempo of the match.
Despite being on the pitch for only 66 minutes, the 30 year-old finished the match having made 46 successful passes – the third most of any Manchester City player. He also finished the afternoon with an 85% pass completion rate, whilst Toure’s two successful through balls was the most of any player on either side.
Combining his technical ability with his athletic prowess, the African star is capable of controlling any given match from the middle of the park, as highlighted by these Manchester City fans on Twitter:
Yaya Toure is just a marvellous player. Anyone who can control a midfield with pace and power. He’s defo in my team.
— Mohit Bassi (@Bassi94) April 27, 2014
Yaya Toure is the best player in the #EPL right now. Has the ability to dictate the tempo of a game and score from set pieces and open play.
— Shamit Patel (@just_sham_it) March 22, 2014